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The key factors of embezzlement charges

On Behalf of | May 12, 2024 | White-Collar Crime

White collar crime is financial in nature and it is generally non-violent. Thus, it’s common for people to think that white collar crimes are not serious. Nonetheless, this is not the case. White collar crimes cost people billions of dollars every year and convictions for white collar offenses can result in lengthy jail terms.

One of the most common types of white collar crime is embezzlement. Embezzlement features unique characteristics, including the following.

The accused must be in a position of trust

What generally makes embezzlement different from any other form of white collar crime is that the accused is in a position of trust and has lawful access to funds. The accused typically has fiduciary duties. This means that they must act within the best interests of the company or individual that employs them. When a person takes funds out of a business, facilitated by their position of power, then this is both embezzlement and a breach of fiduciary duty.

The element of intent

Criminal offenses can be separated into two parts. The “actus reus”, which means the guilty act and “mens rea”, which means the mental state of mind of the accused. For embezzlement, criminal intent is required. If the accused accidentally misplaced funds through a miscalculation, then this is not embezzlement. The accused must have purposely intended to take ownership of the property and use it for self-gain.

Embezzlement charges are serious. However, you are innocent until proven guilty if you’re accused of criminal wrongdoing. If you have been accused of embezzlement, seeking legal guidance can help to ensure that your rights are upheld.